Nov 15, 2018

Trial Court Holds That Evidence of Airbag Deployment Inadmissible in Absence of Expert Testimony

In a case involving an automobile negligence action, a trial court recently held that questions of the plaintiff about whether the airbags deployed in his vehicle at the time of the accident were inadmissible in the absence of expert testimony.  Taing v. Braisted, - N.J. Super. – (Law Div. 2018).

Plaintiff, Auttika Taing, was involved in an auto accident with the defendant, James Braisted.  He filed an in limine motion to bar defendant from questioning him about whether his airbags deployed in the accident, asserting it was an attempt by defendant to suggest to the jury that the impact between the vehicles was minor.

The court held that for evidence of airbag deployment or non-deployment to be presented to a jury, defendant must present competent expert testimony addressing the different variables at play in these situations.  The court concluded by stating that a motor vehicle’s airbag system is a complex mechanism or instrumentality which requires expert testimony to explain why it did or did not activate in a specific situation.